Kitaoji Rosanjin's Fuji painting hits $235,500 at Bonhams

Fuji, a painting by Kitaoji Rosanjin, realised £146,500 ($235,410) at Bonhams' London sale of Fine Japanese Art on November 7.

The 1953 piece, a hekiga (wall painting), was recovered from a decommissioned Portuguese tanker in the 1980s.

Kitaoji Rosanjin Fuji painting
The painting was salvaged from a decommissioned tanker

The Panamanian shipping company that owned the vessel, the Andrew Dillon, commissioned Rosanjin to produce a series of artworks to decorate the dining hall.

Produced in mixed media, the works were completed in just over three weeks - before being installed on the ship.

They were re-discovered when the vessel was due to be scrapped, and were subsequently returned to Japan in 2009 - where they formed the centrepiece of a celebration of 150 years of the Treaty of Peace, Commerce and Friendship between Japan and Portugal.

Rosanjin (1883-1959) was the pseudonym of Fusajiro Kitaoji - a significant ceramicist and calligrapher.

A complete set of 12 articulated silver insects designed by Takase Torakichi (1869-1934) made £98,500 ($158,279).

Each is constructed of moving parts and is rendered to an extraordinary degree of realism. Other examples feature in the collection of the Japanese royal family.

A set of decorative hair accessories dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries sold for £74,500 ($119,754).

The lot comprised almost 200 pieces, including combs and hairpins, created from a variety of materials and presented in a wooden cabinet.

A number of the accessories were previously owned by Takeuchi Seiho (1864-1942), a renowned painter in the traditional nihonga style.

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